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RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday shielding the younger generation against extremism was collective duty of the nation.

"It is our collective duty as `state' and individual duty in our respective domain to shield our youth against this threat. The process involves identification of threat and response measures. Please know that amongst others, we owe our achievements in ongoing operations to the youth," he said in his opening address at a day-long seminar held here.

The theme of the seminar was "Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism" was organized by ISPR in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Eminent academia, vice chancellors of universities, students, students and mohtamim of madaris, national as well as international media and civil society attended the moot.

The DG ISPR said the operation Radd-ul-Fassad was aimed at consolidating gains of all military operations earlier concluded in Kinetic domain and bringing about an enduring peace and stability.

"One of its strands is to eliminate extremism from our society. The requirement becomes more pronounced when we see that the nature and character of this conflict has also changed with ideology of ISIS which focuses on targeting minds of our youth," he said.

Of all the sacrifices made by the uniformed Pakistanis, he said, 90 percent contributions were by our youth - young soldiers and officers, adding "Let us not allow their supreme sacrifice to go waste and convert our achievements into an enduring success."

Commenting on objectives of the seminar, Asif Ghafoor said, it was intended to have full spectrum analysis of phenomena of extremism that what was the threat and its fault lines? How students viewed it? How does it look like from prism of religion and economy and also to suggest response including role of our education institutions and society.

The DG ISPR said he believed that it was only through free exchange of ideas and courage to differ that the dream of truly tolerant Pakistan could be realized.

Speaking on the occasion, former IG Police Dr Shoaib Saddal said direct economic cost due to extremism-related terrorist incidents since 2003 had been colossal, which was estimated at over $ 120 billion (Rs 12.7 trillion).

He said Pakistan's extremism-related fault lines included terrorism, sectarianism, regionalism, sub-nationalism and ethnic militancy, adding that the triggers for extremism were provided internally as well as externally.

"Externally, international power games, geopolitics of the region, proxy wars through non-state actors and clashing economic interests of countries provide essential fodder to the cause of extremism. No wonder that RAW, NDS and several hostile and interested foreign agencies have over time become principal sponsors of instability and violent extremism in Pakistan.

Internally, he said, there were reportedly some groups found involved in extremism which needed to be purged of the society.

Another speaker Ms Harem Zafar said in the view of present case scenario of the country, there was the need to discuss that why the nation had come to this breaking point of lava eruption, adding "in the very root cause of it we have to discuss three points : System of Education, Parenting and the Role of youth itself."

She said extremism groups knew that knowledge was power and believed in the idea of Vendetta because "ideas are bullet-proof" and that was the reason they were attacking young minds to kill any ideology other than their own making radicalization an easy weapon for them to conquer innocent hearts and minds.

"We need to counter attack them by diverting our youth towards libraries, theaters, podiums, seminars and youth-speak forums."

Hareem said she believed that education and good parenting were the only lights required to absolve any darkness of extremism.

 

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